The annual New York State Burn Ban begins on March 16, 2024, and goes through May 14, 2024. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC), open burning is the single greatest cause of wildfires in the Empire State.

The NYS DEC also notes that local governments may have stricter rules than New York State. Check with your fire department for information about local burning laws. You can check for fire danger in your area by visiting the NYS DEC's online map which is updated weekly.

Even though the New York State Burn Ban is in effect from March 16 through May 14, there are exceptions to the ban burn according to the NYS DEC. The following is allowed:

  • Campfires or any other outdoor fires less than 3 feet in height and 4 feet in length, width, or diameter.
  • Small cooking fires.
  • Ceremonial or celebratory bonfires.
  • Disposal of flags or religious items in a small-sized fire, if it is not otherwise prohibited by law or regulation.
  • Only charcoal or dry, clean, untreated, or unpainted wood can be burned.

Fires cannot be left unattended and must be fully extinguished in New York State.

As a reminder, in New York State towns with a population of less than 20,000, you may burn tree limbs with attached leaves are allowed to be burned, but the limbs must be less than 6 inches in diameter and 8 feet in length. Burning loose leaves or lead piles is illegal in New York State.

Keep in mind that this is not allowed during the burn ban from March 16 through May 14 due to the increased risk of wildfires.

You may ask, why is burning trash illegal in New York State? The NYS DEC explains that burning trash is prohibited in wood stoves, fireplaces, and outdoor wood boilers because it is unhealthy, unneighborly, and unnecessary.

It causes serious health concerns and diseases and contaminated soil. Read more about the negative health effects of burning trash on NYSDOH's website.

And with the camping season getting close, check out this video on building and maintaining a safe campfire, from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

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